Dunsfold is an ideal spot for those moving out of London: out in the countryside but within easy reach of great schools, the bustling local hub that is Guildford and with quick rail links for when you need to get into town. Penny Churchill takes a look at a property that's up for sale in this desirable area.
In these uncertain days, vendors of even the finest country houses may face a long wait to find a buyer, unless their pricing reflects the reality of life in today’s slow lane. Brexit is the number one issue, of course, but it isn’t the only spanner in the works; today’s buyers are easily spooked and local issues, such as planning, can also give cause for concern.
Take the case of Barnfield, one of Surrey’s most charming small estates. It’s located in Dunsfold, near Cranleigh and 12 miles from Guildford, and is currently on the market for £5m via Savills and The Grantley Group.
The price reflects the uncertainty caused by a planning application for new housing on a former wartime airfield on the other side of Dunsfold. However, the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t, and in this case it will help: the planning consent that has finally been granted suggests that Barnfield – with its 50 acres of pasture and woodland, not to mention the substantial protection provided by the village itself – should be largely unaffected by the proposed development.
Beautifully refurbished by the present owners during their 15-year tenure, Barnfield dates from the mid 16th century, although the present house was mainly built in the traditional Arts-and-Crafts style of the late-Victorian era.
The estate stands in a wonderfully private rural setting about a mile from the centre of the old village, with its pretty green, church and local pub, and within easy reach of bustling Cranleigh village and its famous school.
Other high-achieving State and private schools nearby include the Royal Grammar School, Guildford High School, Lanes-borough, St Catherine’s and Charterhouse. Dunsfold is ‘commuter-land’ par excellence, with London Waterloo a mere 35-minute train journey from Guildford.
Built in heavy oak timber with brick infills and part-hanging-tile elevations under a clay-tiled roof, Barnfield retains its historic Tudor flavour in its inglenooks, polished beams, floorboards and finely carved staircase.
The main house offers more than 7,000sq ft of luxurious living space, including a heavily beamed entrance hall, three main reception rooms, a library, a splendid kitchen/family room, study, master suite, six further bedrooms and two bathrooms.
Two separate two-bedroom cottages provide additional guest or staff accommodation.
The house is surrounded by immaculate gardens and grounds with a wealth of leisure and sporting amenities, including a gym, American-style stabling, a croquet lawn, tennis court and heated swimming pool.
Barnfield is for sale via Savills and the Grantley Group at £5m – see more pictures and details.
Catch up on the best country houses for sale this week that have come to the market via Country Life.
Arabella Youens goes to south Surrey.